Thursday, February 21, 2008

Entry #11

A Love Engraved
by DBA Lehane


Vern paused for breath on the hillside and glanced up at the tree through aqueous eyes. Despite his fears it was still there; a little frail and withered maybe - but then so was he these days.

It had been forty years since he’d first brought Alice here. He could still see her beautiful face, dappled in sunlight, as they sat beneath the shaded canopy and he’d whispered “I love you” for the very first time.

She replied she loved him too and had taken him inside her, right there beneath the tree.

Afterwards, with the penknife he always carried, they’d carved their initials within a heart upon the tree.

It was a love engraved forever.

But now Alice was gone and Vern faced life without her.
At the tree he reached out his hand and delicately traced the declaration of their love still carved deep within its gnarled flesh. As tears damped his weathered face he slumped slowly to the floor and took the old penknife from his pocket. Despite its rusted bluntness he knew it would still do.

It was why he’d come back here after all.

Distraught he traced the tip of the blade across his exposed wrist, the arteries pulsing with life beneath his old skin. He took a deep breath, steeled himself and then slowly cut the knife through the polythene bag he held.

Alice’s ashes scattered upon the breeze about him. Vern smiled and wiped a tear from his eye. “Farewell my love.”


[DBA Lehane is a London based writer who likes his vodka neat and women even neater. His official website can be found at www.dbalehane.com and he publishes weekly short short fiction at http://dbalehane.blogspot.com.]

42 comments:

Remiman said...

perfect from begining to end. A fitting requiem.
rel

Josh said...

Nice twist there. Surprised me, which means it did its job.

ChristineEldin said...

I love surprises!
Nicely written!!

Beth said...

Oh, that's a sad one. Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

A Very Tender piece...Brilliantly written......grabs you from the first line and Holds you till the last.......great work...Thank you...

DBA Lehane said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I like to think there was a little hope though in the ending and dear old Vern had found the closure now to move on with life.

Anonymous said...

beautiful writing.such a beautiful love story told in so few words.

Vincent said...

One glaring typo: "arties"

Apart from that, it had a wonderful physicality, from "had taken him inside her" through the engraving with the knife---sharp then and blunt today---to the knife's final act. Physical and symbolic and well-balanced throughout.

DBA Lehane said...

Thanks Vincent, and ouch! Well spotted and shame on me for not seeing that! I've asked Jason to go back in and correct that.

tangerine112 said...

I almost stopped reading because I thought it was going to turn graphic at the end. Wonderful piece!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed being led through your story.

I caught myself so briefly thinking “don’t do it!” Then you allow us to sigh with relief and heartache. That kind of journey in 250 words is a real talent. Thanks.

summayyahsadiq said...

What a wonderfully written piece! A love story with a difference and the best part is the unexpected delicious ends that seems to be your style, the suspense was just great. Well done DBA, this is another bests!

clrrchrd said...

Sad, beautiful

paisley said...

oh that was lovely... so far i like it the best i think....

sandra seamans said...

What a wonderful piece. You kept surprising me and that's what a great flash does.

JLB said...

Well done - I really love how you manage to trick the reader with the knife.

Mahala Schultz said...

Though short, you can really catch the feeling of the story. I loved it! Great job!

Missy said...

Oh, I am glad it did not go the way it appeared to be going! Even the title seemed to foreshadow, but a very believable ending. Heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

Anonymous said...

a beautiful love story that gives me hope, you have a wonderful way with words.
microabi

Mystico said...

Cool.
You really fooled me with his knife and pulsing arteries.
That, and the ending makes it a really wonderful story.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Not a wasted word.

Veggies.... said...

Beautifully written, well done!

Sarah Hina said...

Very tender and heart-wrenching piece. I, too, was uplifted by the ending.

"A love engraved forever." I really felt this from these two. Wonderful story-telling in such a short frame.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Lovely piece of writing, Lehane - it flows together so well and has a beautiful poignancy about it - as well as that one moment where the reader is jarred at the appearance of the old knife.
Very well done.

Vesper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vesper said...

The tree will guard her well... Poignant story, beautifully written.

BernardL said...

Well thought out last Valentine.

MickyMc said...

A great requiem, which doesn’t get bogged down with syrupy sentimentality.
Another great piece from Mr Lehane!

SzélsőFa said...

I like how the emotions are conveyed through actions, and activities.
I did expect something else and I liked how it turned out.

pjd said...

Touching. I thought it was getting predictable, but then you twisted it. Good job on the timing.

bluesugarpoet said...

I'm with pjd. I expect one ending, and am nicely surprised by something entirely different. Well done.

Russell Holder said...

A well written piece. You have crafted a nice story... truly thinking the character is about to slit his wrists, then to find he is only releasing the ashes from captivity... and a fond farewell at a favored location. Great writing! Captivating!

r2 said...

Nice work. Beautifully crafted. I'm a big fan of your stories. I stop by your blog every week or so to see what you have written. Like Chubby Checker, you are a master of the twist. I'm always delighted with what I read from you.

DBA Lehane said...

Thanks again everyone! The comments and feedback is always good to read!

And r2 - I think I might just use that for my bio's in future: "the chubby checker of the written word" :) That really did make me laugh out loud!

Aerin said...

I do like the idea of the story, but I kept wondering why he'd trace the knife across his wrist; it seemed a little artificial, meant only to throw off the reader. It just..otherwise seems like a strange detail. But it's a lovely tribute to a lost love.

Aerin said...

Oh hell ignore that comment. I tried acting it out, holding the bag in one hand and the knife in the other, and I understand now. Sorry, sorry.

DBA Lehane said...

Knife across his wrist...a number of reasons I guess. Inner turmoil in his grief, fantasy and compulsion, acknowledgement of the thin line between life and death, sensing the blades sharpness/bluntness, to make the blade clean...lets not forget this is a man truly lost in the depths of his loss and grief and not sat reading at his computer

bekbek said...

I actually was looking at the title in Jason's list and NOT looking forward to reading this. I had expected quite a few sentiment-carved trees among the stories, and your title "A love engraved" had me thinking this would be somehow trite and all about youthful passion.

Not that there isn't any youthful passion - the first time "he'd whispered 'I love you'" is so full of the vulnerability of emotion and sex, and you handled it just right in my opinion.

But it's the way you then grew that emotion into the long love affair of a lifetime, and the loss, and layered meaning of "a love engraved" that really caught me. Engraved on the tree, on the heart, on the life, and on the wrist.

Gorgeous. You are among those making my Readers' Choice voting very, very difficult, but also so rewarding. :)

Aerin said...

Hey DBA - Yes, I got the various reasonings, it was the - oh, sort of logistics. Since he had seemed to already make the decision to let go of her. It was mostly the result of my reading and trying to form coherent comments too late at night (well, late for a mum of toddlers).

Rereading this morning, I'm reminded how much I like this ending, very appropriate for a tree which, season to season, lives. Quite nice.

Gnewvegan said...

A surprising twist.. I was on edge for that moment I thought he was going to take his own life.

jason evans said...

Very sweet. It's interesting how we sometimes seek to incorporate ourselves into another living thing. Someday the tree will die too, but hopefully after the grieving ones are gone.

Aine said...

You really scared me-- I was actually holding my breath as Vern traced the tip of his knife across his wrist. But then you mercifully released me, and ended with a lovely bittersweet moment. Your skill succeeded in making me forget I was reading words-- well done!